Chess pie, a sweet confection made with sugar, butter, eggs, cornmeal, and vinegar (yes, vinegar), is a classic Southern dessert. It’a perfect for entertaining and holidays or sweltering afternoons on the porch.
Where Does Chess Pie Come From Anyway?
There are several theories around the origin of chess pie, which started appearing in American cookbooks in the mid-17th century. We sorta love that the most likely explanation behind the name of this beloved Southern dessert comes from a simple mispronunciation of “cheese pie,” or “it’s just pie.” Perhaps that’s what comes from speaking with your mouth full of this pie’s custard-y goodness.
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H, 25 M
- Serves 8
Special Equipment: Pie weights or dry, uncooked rice or beans
Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C).
Press the pie crust dough into a 9-inch pie plate and line it with aluminum foil or parchment paper, making sure it extends over the edge of the crust. Fill with pie weights or dry, uncooked rice or beans. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes or until the pie crust no longer looks wet. Carefully remove the foil and weights and bake 2 to 3 more minutes or until the crust looks dry and golden. Let cool on a wire rack.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (176°C). In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornmeal, flour, and salt. Gradually whisk in the melted butter, milk, vinegar, and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs just until completely combined. Pour the chess pie filling into the cooled pie crust.
Bake the chess pie for 50 to 55 minutes or until the filling is set. If the edge of the pie crust threatens to become too brown before the filling is cooked through, shield it with a long strip of aluminum foil that you form into a U-shape and slip over the edge of the crust to prevent excessive browning. Let the pie cool completely on a wire rack.
Serve wedges of the pie at room temperature or after loosely covering and refrigerating the pie until chilled through.
- Coconut Chess Pie
Prepare the chess pie filling as directed, stirring in 1 cup toasted, sweetened, flaked coconut before pouring the filling into the pie crust. Bake as directed.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This chess pie is DELICIOUS! Being a lifelong fat man of Northern descent, I had heard of chess pie, but I'd never experienced it. I can assure you that I will make this chess pie recipe every chance I get. This chess pie recipe is simply genius!
It could not be easier to make. The hardest part was waiting for the pie to cool. I am happy to report that it is quite tasty when warm but BRILLIANT cold from the old Crosley. I recommend a deep-dish crust as I used a regular pie crust, and there was about 3/4 cup filling left over, which I promptly put in a small ramekin and baked for about 25 minutes.
I regularly make chess pie for the holidays. My recipe uses margarine (gasp) because every time I tried butter, it just baked too brown. But this pie bakes up to a pretty golden color. I'm so excited to find a recipe made with butter that works.
Adding the wet ingredients to the mixture of sugar, salt, flour, and cornmeal made the sugar mixture look like drool. I mixed in the butter and eggs in the wrong order but it didn't seem to matter. The pie baked the full 55 minutes. The top had a crust and was beautiful. I found room temperature to be best for consumption. I will try the coconut variation next time.